Red Sox place Garrett Whitlock on 15-day injured list with right elbow ulnar neuritis, recall Brayan Bello from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed right-hander Garrett Whitlock on the 15-day injured list due to right elbow neuritis, the club announced prior to Friday’s series opener against the Guardians at Fenway Park. In a corresponding move, fellow righty Brayan Bello was recalled from Triple-A Worcester.

Whitlock was originally scheduled to start opposite Zach Plesac on Saturday, but that responsibility will now fall to Bello. The 26-year-old began the season on the injured list after getting a late start in spring training as he continued to recover from a right hip arthroscopy last September.

After making two minor-league rehab starts, Whitlock made his season debut for Boston on April 11 in Tampa Bay. He has since pitched to a 6.19 ERA and 5.98 FIP with 11 strikeouts to three walks over three starts spanning 16 innings of work in which opponents are batting .312 against him.

Whitlock told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) on Friday that he felt something “akin to a numbness or tingling two side sessions ago, and had felt it sporadically when throwing pitches since.” More specifically, he felt it “a couple of times” during his last start against the Brewers this past Saturday.

Though Whitlock — who has yet to have an MRI — was unable to provide any sort of recovery timetable, he did say there were no concerns pertaining to Tommy John surgery, which he first underwent in July 2019 after tearing his right UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) while still a member of the Yankees organization.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora added further details, indicating that there is not too much concern about Whitlock and that the team is hopeful he will only miss two starts before returning to action. Of course, that all depends on how he responds to treatment in the coming days. Cora also said the Red Sox still view Whitlock as a starter as opposed to a reliever moving forward.

Because his stint on the injured list was backdated to April 25, Whitlock will not be eligible to be activated until Wednesday, May 10 at the earliest. The Red Sox have two off days (one before and one after their two-game series against the Braves) that week, so they could look to take advantage of that schedule flexibility as it pertains to their rotation when the time comes.

In the meantime, Bello will fill in for Whitlock and make his third start of the season on Saturday. Like his counterpart, Bello also began the year on the injured list after being slowed by right forearm tightness during spring training. He made just one rehab start for Worcester and made his season debut on April 17.

Bello has since posted a 9.82 ERA and 6.35 FIP with eight strikeouts to three walks in two starts (7 1/3 innings) against the Angels at home and the Brewers on the road. Though he showed signs of improvement in Milwaukee over the weekend, the 23-year-old was optioned on Monday as the Red Sox went from a six-man to a five-man starting rotation and added another lefty to the bullpen mix by calling up Brennan Bernardino from the WooSox.

It turns out that Bello’s stay in Worcester was shorter than expected since he is replacing an injured player on the roster. Regardless, the Dominican-born hurler will now rejoin a Red Sox rotation that includes Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Tanner Houck, and Nick Pivetta.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: John Fisher/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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